Edward “Fritz” Keel
This past fall, we learned that the North Country-Fort Drum region was selected by the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) as a Great American Defense Community for 2019.ADC receives submissions from across the nation and all branches of our Armed Forces and selected five communities that support the servicemen and women, the civilians, and family members who live and work on the installations within those communities.I first learned of this program shortly after beginning my role as your Executive Director at the ADC National Summit in Washington D.C. this past June.The Great American Defense Communities program shines a light on the regions and individuals that are making a difference. The program was designed to recognize and celebrate communities with an exceptional commitment to improving the lives of service members, veterans and their families.As I listened to the stories of support highlighted in 2018, I immediately recognized that the North Country is just as deserving of this recognition.
For nearly 35 years now, the North Country and Fort Drum have enjoyed a strong bond of mutual support.Unlike other installations, Fort Drum relies on our community hospitals and schools for healthcare and education services, and the community has equally benefited from the increase in available health services, expanded course offerings, and cultural diversity in our schools.This relationship is unique in the Department of Defense and is part of what makes our community special.
As we put together the application, there were many examples of projects and initiatives that our community has developed to continually support Fort Drum.We chose to dedicate this newsletter to five of those initiatives that highlight these wonderful programs.In the coming months, we will announce various events to celebrate our recognition as a Great American Defense Community.We look forward to celebrating this award with all of you! Thank you for all that you do, every day, to Advocate Drum.